Both of President Trump’s attempts to shut down travel to the United States from countries known for being terrorist hotspots have been blocked by the courts, but the administration isn’t waiting for those cases to be resolved to do something about the vetting process.
According to cables that went out from the State Department last week to all American embassies around the world, the administration is directing consular officials to step up security, making it more difficult for travelers to procure visas.
From the NY Times:
The new rules generally do not apply to citizens of 38 countries — including most of Europe and longstanding allies like Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea — who can be speedily admitted into the United States under the visa waiver program. That program does not cover citizens from any country in the Middle East or Africa.
In cables sent to the embassies between March 10 and March 17, the State Department instructed consulates to apply extra scrutiny to visa applicants, including questions about their background and social media reviews for those who have recently traveled in ISIS-controlled territory.
The New York Times, of course, thinks this is just dreadful, and they make sure and tell us about “advocates” who “worry about people being profiled for extra scrutiny because of their name or nationality.”
They speak to one such advocate, Greg Chen of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, who said, “This will certainly slow down the screening process and impose a substantial burden on these applicants. It will make it much harder and create substantial delays.”
Hmm, we have to admit, we were expecting something with a little more oomph behind it. After the New Yorker puts a picture of Lady Liberty’s extinguished torch on the cover, concerns over the speed of our travel bureaucracy sound downright mundane.